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Apply to the Sports MBA Program

The application period for our next cohort, beginning classes in January 2021 is open August 1st through November 1st, 2020. Three step application instrcutions are listed below. 

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact our office at (619) 594-6023 or [email protected].

To apply to the Sports MBA program, you must first register with the California State University system, of which we are part, through the CAL State Apply online portal. This is the first step in the application process, and should be completed prior to sending any supporting documents or materials. Please register through CAL State Apply as soon as possible, this creates an applicant profile for you with the SDSU Office of Graduate Admissions and allows you to proceed with the rest of the Sports MBA application.


The application for Graduate Admissions includes a nonrefundable $70 application fee. Payment of the application fee is by credit card or check/money order. Using the credit card method will expedite the processing of your application. SDSU must receive payment before your application will be reviewed. The application fee is nonrefundable and may not be transferred to another term. When completing the application, be sure to give your full legal name and avoid abbreviations.


Under "Major/Program Objective" select Business Administration: Sports Business Management (MBA) - External Degree. The term "external degree" designates that the Sports MBA program is a self-support program on a special sessions schedule.


It is required that the GMAT or GRE be taken prior to the November 1st, 2019 application deadline, but please do not wait to complete the online process until you have taken the test. It is best to get your name in the system now.

Statement of Purpose

A statement of purpose is not needed to complete the CAL State Apply online application. When you input your information in, please do not submit a personal statement when the website prompts you to do so, instead please indicate that you will be submitting the personal statement electronically. A statement of purpose specific to the Sports MBA program will be emailed to you after you have completed the CAL State Apply application and your profile is created with SDSU Graduate Admissions.

Achievements and Experiences
Due to the fact that you will be submitting a professional resume, this section of CAL State Apply does not need to be completed.  

Supporting documents may be submitted any time after your CAL State Apply application, but all documents should be submitted as soon as possible in order for the application to be considered for the cohort beginning in 2020.

  1. Request a transcript for each school where you took classes during your undergraduate career, including study abroad, and any transfer credits. Only one official transcript from EACH college and university listed on your application needs to be sent to SDSU. Official transcripts must be sent directly to:

    Sports Business Management MBA
    Fowler College of Business 
    San Diego State University
    5500 Campanile Drive
    San Diego, CA 92182-8232

  2. Request TWO confidential recommendations. At least one of your letters of recommendation should come from your immediate supervisor.

    Download the SMBA Confidential Recommendation Form

    Recommenders should submit the form to [email protected] or mail the form in to the address above. 

    Note: although the confidential recommendation form is preferred, a recommendation letter without the attached form is acceptable if there are extenuating circumstances.

  3. Register for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) by visiting the GMAT Home Page/the GRE Home Page or calling (800) GMAT NOW. Please be sure to use the correct SDSU institutional code 9LT-2P-45 on your GMAT registration form. The GRE code for SDSU is 4682. The Computer Adaptive GMAT is administered by Pearson VUE at test centers throughout the world. Results will automatically be submitted to the Specialized & International Programs office.

    GMAT/GRE examination must be taken by November 1, 2019 for students applying for the Sports Business Management MBA program January 2020 cohort. Please be sure to list San Diego State University as a test recipient SDSU Institutional Code 9LT-2P-45(GMAT) and 4682 for the GRE.

  4. Submit a professional résumé.

Please email a PDF copy of your professional resume to [email protected].


After completing your CAL State Apply application (Part I) and submitting your application's supporting documents (Part II), our office will send you prompts for completing the statement of purpose and a presentation/video assignment that should be completed prior to your Sports MBA Alumni Admissions Interview.

You will be paired with an alumnus/alumna in your geographic area, as a face-to-face interview is preferred. Applicants living in cities without any SDSU Sports MBA alumni may travel to a nearby city to interview with an alumnus/alumna, travel to San Diego for the interview, or set up a virtual interview. In past years, most international students have conducted their admissions interviews virtually.

Lastly, your application will be finalized after you interview via phone or virtually with the Program Director.

International Students

There are a few additional steps that international applicants must take with the Office of Graduate Admissions in order to be admitted to SDSU's Sports MBA program, and our staff is happy to work with international applicants to assist with the application. Please contact 619-594-6023 or [email protected] if you require additional instructions. You may also want to check the website of the International Student Center from San Diego State University. They are happy to assist you with questions about your visa, finances, housing and other concerns you may have. Their website is isc.sdsu.edu.

Please follow the steps below:

  1. Follow the steps listed above under Apply to the Sports MBA Program
  2. Submit the following additional documents:
 As an international applicant, you must hold the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor's degree with 3.0 GPA or "B" average. The eligible degrees and required documents for your country are listed on the SDSU Graduate Admissions: Requirements by Country page. You must submit original, official academic records issued in English by your institution. If your academic records are not issued in English, a certified English translation must be provided. If your country is not listed, please contact Graduate Admissions for instructions.
If undergraduate education was in a language other than English, students must submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test score in addition to all of the above documents. The minimum TOEFL scores are 550 (paper-based), or 80 (Internet based).

Admitted international students requiring an F-1 student visa must submit the SDSU Financial Statement Form and supporting financial documents to provide evidence of funding for one academic year. Financial documents must be approved by the Office of Admissions in order to receive the I-20, which is needed to apply for a student visa.

Financial Statement Form (pdf)

Admissions Requirements

Applicants are evaluated on the basis of prior academic and professional accomplishments, educational and career goals, and potential for advancement in the competitive sports business industry.

  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher in the last 60 semester units (90 quarter units) of undergraduate work (absolute minimum undergraduate GPA for graduate students at SDSU is 2.85)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Professional Résumé
  • Personal Statement
  • Slideshow Presentation or Video
  • Sports MBA Alumni & Program Director Interview
  • Official GMAT/GRE Score Report (the GMAT/GRE cannot be waived under any circumstances)

Prospective students from all undergraduate disciplines are eligible for admission to the program.

Previous work experience after college is strongly recommended, but not required for admission to the Sports MBA program.

  • Work experience in any form (internship or full-time) within the sports industry is favorable, but not required. A number of our students each year come to the program to gain experience and enter the sports industry from a wide variety of industries.
  • The SDSU Sports MBA program will strongly consider granting admission to select applicants with little professional experience who have recently received their undergraduate degree. A competitive candidate with little post-college work experience must have substantial internship/work experience during his/her college career in addition to an exemplary academic record, a competitive GMAT score, and a strong desire to learn.

An important part of the application procedure is an alumni interview with someone who has gone through this experience and can help prospective students understand the challenge and the opportunity presented by the Sports MBA program. A prospective student can use this interview to express himself/herself in person and explain more about his or her background and application. The interview, either in person or via webcam, is also a great chance for applicants to ask specific questions of a program graduate and connect with a mentor as they enter into a new class of Sports MBA students.

Please note that the Sports MBA program starts every Spring semester (January). We currently do not offer Fall semester admissions.

Applications for the cohort beginning January 2020 are accepted from August 1st–November 1st, 2019.

International applicants are highly encouraged to complete and submit all application materials as soon as possible to allow additional time for the Office of Graduate Admissions to review international transcripts and other supporting documents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many applicants are admitted to the program in each admissions cycle?

A: We seek to select a cohort of 30 students each year.

Q: What is the official admissions period?

A: The SDSU Sports MBA program starts in mid-January each year (Spring semester). The official window in which applications are accepted is August 1st through November 1st. For international applicants, we recommend that all materials be submitted by October 1st.

Q: Is it possible to apply earlier than August 1st?

A: Yes. Though we cannot accept applications through the CSU system website until August 1st, we understand that many competing programs have a fall semester start and some prospective students need an admissions decision from us earlier in the calendar year. SDSU Sports MBA offers Early Action admissions decisions for prospective students who have completed their research and are confident that SDSU is their first choice. Please inquire with the department for details.

Q: Will you accept the GRE in place of the GMAT?

A: Although the GMAT examination is strongly preferred, we will also accept equivalent GRE scores in lieu of the GMAT. One or the other is required, and a standardized test score will not be waived under any circumstances.

Q: Do I need to submit a TOEFL score?

A: International applicants who have not completed three years of full-time study at the secondary or post-secondary level where English was the language of instruction must score at least 550 (paper-based), or 80 (Internet based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Q: How much are the tuition and fees for this program?

A: Program fees for the Sports Business Management MBA Program cover the costs of your tuition, orientation, team building activities, graduation fees and regalia, SDSU student parking permit or annual trolley pass, SDSU student ID card, guest speaker series and student health services. (See the Program Fees section.)

Q: What is included in the tuition and fees for this program?

A: Program fees for the Sports Business Management MBA Program cover the costs of your tuition, orientation, team building activities, international excursion, graduation fees and regalia, SDSU student parking permit or annual trolley pass, SDSU student ID card, and guest speaker series.

Q: What is NOT included in the tuition and fees?

A: The tuition and fees expense does not include books and required course materials, housing, transportation, relocation expenses and other personal expenses not listed above.

Q: How is the program structured?

A: Our program is designed to be completed in 18 months. In the first 12 months, students complete their academic coursework. In January of the following year students begin their six month internships.

Q: What is the difference between a Sports MBA and regular MBA?

A: Sports MBA programs incorporate the standard MBA curriculum and also integrate sports-related themes into each course. Cases, class discussions, presentations and guest speakers are all focused on preparing you for a career in the sports industry.

Q: What are the advantages of a Sports MBA versus a Sport Management Masters?

A: One distinct advantage is the universal appeal of an MBA. The MBA curriculum is one that is applicable to virtually any industry and will benefit you throughout your career.

Q: Can I speak with a current student or alumnus to discuss the program?

A: If you would like to speak with a student currently pursuing the Sports MBA degree, or an alumnus/alumna of the program currently working in the sports industry, please email [email protected] and we will happily facilitate communication with the appropriate contact.

Q: Is the Sports MBA program accredited?

A: Yes. In fact we are the only Sports MBA in California fully accredited by the AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).

Q: Where can I follow the latest developments the sports MBA program?

A: You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.